The region’s recovery will be the key focus at the next meeting of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Committee on Friday 9 October, at 10.30am.
Members will discuss the Economic Recovery Taskforce’s action plan and funding for a range of proposed projects including digital skills training, small business resilience grants, green infrastructure projects, and an extension to the Low Carbon Challenge Fund.
The Committee will be asked to nearly double the funding available for the ongoing recovery work, up to a total allocation of £9.4 million. This is in addition to the £99m that WECA is already investing in business and skills over the next four years – which includes business support, skills and employment initiatives.
WECA has put in place a package of measures to help kick-start the regional economy following the coronavirus outbreak, all of which can accessed through the regional Growth Hub.
The regional recovery plan sets out five ambitions:
- Rebuilding business, helping new and existing businesses to survive and thrive; to safeguard existing, and create new jobs
- Getting residents back into jobs that pay above the living wage and offer employment security, through training and work to match skills to opportunities
- Strengthen inclusion, preventing further widening of inequalities and building an inclusive economy where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential
- A green recovery, using changes in behaviour brought about by the pandemic to accelerate transition to net zero carbon
- Renewing places, creating greener, healthier, more vibrant places to live and work.
The Committee will also discuss WECA’s climate emergency action plan which is a key part of the Covid-19 recovery plan. The plan sets out to ensure that climate emergency ambitions are properly integrated into everything with the goal of the region being zero carbon by 2030.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “The Economic Recovery Taskforce action plan will give us the building blocks for long-term recovery and renewal of our region’s economy.
“This will help us to establish a positive, inclusive and low-carbon legacy from Covid-19 in the region, whether that’s better green infrastructure to enable more walking and cycling, or helping our businesses build low-carbon into their own recovery plans, with the skills to support it.”
The Combined Authority is chaired by Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, and is made up of the leaders and Mayor from its three member councils – Bath & North East Somerset (Leader, Cllr Dine Romero), Bristol City Council (Mayor Marvin Rees) and South Gloucestershire Council (Leader, Cllr Toby Savage – who is also Deputy Regional Mayor). The Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Professor Steve West, also attends committee meetings.
The WECA Committee meeting – which will be live-streamed on the West of England Combined Authority’s YouTube channel – will be held jointly with a meeting of the West of England Joint Committee, which is the decision-making body for issues relating to the West of England Combined Authority, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. Members of the public will be able to present their submitted statements at the virtual meeting.
The WECA Overview & Scrutiny Committee will meet in advance of the committees on Wednesday 7 October at 10.30am.
For more details and agendas visit: www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/meetings.